NHL Scores: Rangers blowout Penguins; Hurricanes snap Panthers streak; and more

Apr 6, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Alexis Lafreniere #13 of the New York Rangers celebrates his goal at 12:20 of the second period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden on April 06, 2021 in New York City. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

New York: It was a Garden Party on 7th and 34th in Manhattan last night as the New York Rangers came out firing on all cylinders. Before they reached the 10 minute mark of the first period the Blueshirts already had a 3-0 lead. The scoring didn’t end there for the home team either.

Artemi Panarin’s four points leads blowout over Penguins; Islanders shutout Capitals for first place tie

The Rangers were led by Artemi Panarin who scored four points (1G, 3A) to pace the team. His 40 points over just 27 games has him ranked only behind Connor McDavid in points per game 1.48 to 1.64 respectively. Will Panarin get consideration again for the Hart Trophy? Also on the award front; Adam Fox had three points (1G, 2A) and is now tied with Victor Hedman in defense scoring with 36. However Fox’s points per game of .96 is pacing all blue-liners this season. The debate is over on whether he deserves Norris Trophy consideration.

In the end the Rangers got goals from 8 different players including kids Alexis Lafrenière and Kaapo Kakko. Igor Shesterkin withstood the Penguins barrage of shots and made 41 saves as the Blueshirts won it 8-4. They are 5 points back of the Bruins for fourth in the East.

“Everyone contributed today and played well,” Mika Zibanejad¬†who also scored said. “I think we’ve been playing pretty well as of late and just got to get a little bit better, but overall I thought we played a good game tonight.”

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When it comes to the battle for first place in the East, the Islanders shutout the Capitals 1-0 on the strength of Semyon Varlamov’s 29 saves. The Bruins picked up a big win against the Flyers to hold off the charging Blueshirts as mentioned. Patrice Bergeron notched a hat-trick in the 4-2 victory. And the Sabres without Taylor Hall beat the Kyle Palmieri-less Devils 5-3.

Related: Taylor Hall scratched as trade draws near

Hurricanes snap Panthers six game winning streak; Predators continue rolling

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Apr 6, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal (11) scores a third period goal against the Florida Panthers at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The race for first in the Central is the most entertaining in all of the NHL. It seems like each week we have a new team jumping into the top spot. Last night the Hurricanes ended the Panthers winning streak at six games. The first place Panthers had a 2-1 lead heading into the third period but a four goal barrage led by two from Jordan Staal gave the Canes a huge win.

“We had to be better,” Staal said. “Our line wasn’t great in the first two (periods). I thought we were getting outplayed. We started doing the things we wanted to do, moving the puck north-south. We were fortunate enough to find a way to get two points.”

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Carolina leapfrogs over the Lightning who lost to the Blue Jackets 4-2. Currently the Panthers remain in first with 56 points as the Canes have 55 and the Lighting 54. In the battle for the final playoff spot, the Predators continue to win as they knocked off Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout. The Nashville win keeps them two points ahead of the Blackhawks who picked up 4-2 win over the Stars.

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